A Delhi Obsession

A Delhi Obsession

A Novel

eBook - 2019
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Two-time Giller Prize winner M.G. Vassanji returns with a powerful new novel about grief and second chances, tradition and rebellion, set in vibrant present-day Delhi. Munir Khan, a recent widower from Toronto, on a whim decides to visit Delhi, the city of his forbears. Born in Kenya, he has lost all family connections, and has never visited India before. While sitting in the bar of the Delhi Recreational Club where he's staying, an attractive woman joins his table to await her husband. A sparring match ensues. The two are from different worlds: Munir is a westernized agnostic of Muslim origin; Mohini, a modern Hindu woman. Utterly witty and charming, she's religiously traditional, but also a liberal and provocative newspaper columnist. Against her better judgment, Mohini agrees to show Munir around the city. As they explore the thriving markets and historical buildings of Old Delhi, an inexplicable attraction begins. What follows is a passionate love affair--uncontrollable yet impossible. This is a period of rising Indian nationalism in modern India that at times finds outlet in senseless violence. Constantly lurking at Munir's Club is the menacing and foreboding presence of a fanatical nationalist group. To them Munir Khan is simply a Muslim "love-jihadi" who has led the pride of Hindu womanhood, Mohini Singh, astray. At what cost, their passion?
Publisher: [S.l.]: Doubleday Canada, 2019.
ISBN: 9780385692861
Characteristics: 288 p.
Additional Contributors: cloudLibrary

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GLNovak
Mar 04, 2020

Although born in Kenya and raised in Canada, Munir still has India in his heritage. Now a widower, he is thinking about his family and his roots, and decides to go to Delhi to visit the places his grandparents talked about. He stays at the Delhi Recreational Club, a haunt for successful Indians, and it is here he meets Mohini who has sat down to wait for her husband for dinner. They strike up a conversation, and, as they say, the rest is history. We follow through the alternating narrative, watching their friendship move quickly to an obsession. Complicating this scenario is the fact that she is a devout Hindu and his heritage is Muslim, although he has never been observant, and indeed regards himself as an agnostic. As a backdrop to this growing relationship, we are treated to a bit of a travelogue as we share their day trips around Delhi, and Munir's ventures into other parts of India, and watch as he begins to feel more and more his Indian identity. There is no escaping the undercurrent of hatred from radical Hindus for the Muslims, and we know this relationship will be targeted. The writing is spare but moving, with an ability to paint mental pictures that kept me wanting to read on. The somewhat casual, slow pace is the perfect lead up to the sudden abrupt end.

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22222013434661
Jan 22, 2020

What a beautiful, sad book. “East is east and West is west and never the Twain shall meet”. This novel is a case of the two meeting but not being allowed to sustain a relationship. Vassanji writes such beautiful language and there is so much information about places and the culture in India. I will remember this book for a long time.

u
uncommonreader
Oct 02, 2019

This is a beautifully written and wonderful book and an indictment of religious extremism and nationalism.

h
hamerkop
Oct 02, 2019

A beautifully written and gripping indictment of Hindi Nationalism. The quality of writing we have come to expect from this celebrated author.

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